Dealerships can sell cars online and deliver during lockdown but steps should be taken to minimise the risk of transmitting coronavirus in England, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said (BEIS). This clarification is good news for the motor industry that has been forced to close its showrooms.
A BEIS spokesperson explained: ‘We have asked non-essential shops like car dealerships and showrooms in England to close – unless they provide urgent car repairs and other necessary services.’ As such, countless members of staff have been sent home at a great cost to themselves, the dealerships they work for, and the economy.
However, the spokesperson added that dealerships can still ‘sell cars remotely’. Many now let you buy online, for example. Cars can be delivered too. However, the well publicised advice that reduces the chance of infection should be followed. The key points include:
• social distance, e.g. stay at least two metres away from other people
• personal hygiene, e.g. wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you sneeze or cough, dispose of tissues immediately (then wash your hands)
• disinfect frequently touched surfaces, e.g. steering wheels, gear sticks, door handles, vehicle heater controls, seatbelt buckles, parking brakes, stereo controls.
Dealerships rush online
Cars can be ordered online from several brands. Whereas each has its own policies, it is typically possible to get exactly what you want. Choose a car then personalise it to better complement your lifestyle, for example. Perhaps you want to pick the exterior colour and add optional extras. You might also like to arrange finance and get a trade-in price for your current car. Choose from:
• Renault Virtual Showroom
• Hyundai Click to Buy
• Peugeot Buy Online
• Mitsubishi Buy Online
• Dacia Virtual Showroom.
Showrooms should reopen early, trade association says
The Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders is a large, influential trade body that supports the motor industry in the United Kingdom. It is therefore keen for life to get back to normal as soon as practical. It is particularly keen for showrooms to reopen so the dealers are not completely dependant on online sales.
Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: ‘When the time is right, reopening car showrooms will be a crucial first step to restarting the market and getting the wider economy back on its feet. We need to see car dealerships in the first wave of retail re-openings’, he suggested.